By Cristina Scalzo
There are 13 days until school ends and everyone heads their own directions for summer break. For some of you, this may evoke feelings of excitement. For others, the lingering question of how to fill the four months of break is causing serious anxiety. There are many ways to fill the summer months: pool side tanning, late night bonfires, and spontaneous adventures with friends. However, I would encourage you to also consider taking advantage of this time to develop your career. Getting an internship, job, or participating in other productive summer activities does not mean losing those fun times with friends, it is simply a way to jump-start your future.
The key to finding an internship or job for the summer is to START NOW! It is not too late to begin looking for one. I know it may seem impossible to focus on getting a job or internship when finals are just around the corner, but trust me, it will be worth it! And did you know that Career Services also provides a job posting site that is unique to University of Portland students? The employers listing jobs on this site are searching for students from our University…that means they want YOU! (Visit: http://www.collegecentral.com/up/).
Career Services provides career counselors who specialize in helping students find jobs and internships and even can help you prepare properly. From resume help to mock interviews, they can help get you into tip-top shape to land a summer job or internship.
Jobs and internships are the traditional routes to take, but not the only ones. There are endless ways you can productively spend your summer.
- If you are a junior, the summer might be a good time to start thinking about graduate school applications. Creating a timeline for the application process can make your life so much easier. Keep in mind that some schools may require you to take a test, which should be scheduled far in advance. Also plan out who you want to do your recommendations and when you want them done by. Giving your reference a heads-up in advance allows them to spend extra time thinking about how best they can portray your wonderfulness (and also shows respect for their time).
- Or, you can spend some time volunteering at a local shelter, food bank, or non-profit. One of my favorite places to volunteer here in the Portland area is the Rebuilding Center – an organization that focuses on recycling old materials to create a sustainable environment (http://rebuildingcenter.org/). If you are looking for a shelter, try Portland Homeless Family Solutions, a family shelter dedicated to help its residents build life skills and transition into permanent housing (http://pdxhfs.org/about-us/).
- The summer is also the ideal time to develop your career by scheduling informational interviews with professionals in your field of study and by seeking out job shadowing opportunities, since you are free of the burden of papers, studying, and homework and might actually have a few hours of down time.
Lastly, make sure to do what you love. Further develop a passion of yours, or find a new hobby to pick up. Pursuing pastimes you’re truly interested in can lead to a great career down the road.